France 2013 + 2015
September - December 2015
Île d'Oléron, Charente-Maritime
We moved to the island "Oléron" a bit north of Monatlivet - Titony went back to School 4 month to do his captains licence. After sleeping in the van the first nights on a parking lot, we found a tiny appartment in the heart of the artist village "Chateau d'Oléron". There were lots of little ateliers in old wooden fisherhouses, all painted in a different bright color. Very sweet.
In November we had unexpected visit from our friends from Martinique: Gilles and Marielle. They proposed Titony to come work with Gilles on his fishing boat in Martinique to finish his captains licence, the practical part of it. Actually our plan was to go to French Polynesia, but Martinique was nice and much closer and cheaper to get there, so we decided to go back to Sainte-Anne in January 2016.
I went surfing only when the forecast looked really good, and unfortunately that didn't happen very often – but the few times were awesome! Thanks to Jym, a friend of Gilles that we acidentally met, I got to go to a "secret" spot only locals know :)
Finally we could give back to the couchsurifng community: in november and december we had some couchsurfers over, the last one, Arthur was really nice and he said he is going to cross the atlantic on a sailingboat and might pass by Martinique – so maybe we'll host him there again!
July - August 2015
Coming back after almost 2 years felt like coming home to a beloved place. Nothing had changed, but we changed and the people we met there were different too. A friend from Titony was already there when we arrived, with a huge truck and they gathered nice like-minded people around them, all seasonal workers, some surfers and a family.
Going surfing with friends was the highlight for sure – even though I had a lot of work I still could spare some time for surfing, especially when there was no wind and glassy waves I dropped everything and ran into the ocean with my board.
A friend of ours, Agathe, found a tiny 6 weeks old kitten that had been abandoned and whenever she had to work she dropped her of at my van and I took care of her while working on the laptop. She was adorable!
Titony worked every morning from 5 to 13 o'clock on the market selling cheese - yummy - but didn't have one day off so partying was kind of hard... even though he did it anyways and I ended up driving him to work after 1 hour of sleep once or twice.
I rented the beachhouse once again for a month in October, I love the atmosphere with all the antique furniture and the quietness of the place. Jane, the owner, is a really nice british lady, with who you can have great deicussions about anything and everything. One day she dropped by with homebaked lemon cup-cakes which were simply amazing! Best cup-cakes I ever ate.
The waves that month were not as good as aspected, it was too windy most of the time the waves were really mushy. Surfing here so far was best in may and june for me, but everybody says something else.
It was already getting cold fast and Titony spend his days finishing to renovate and paint his old van since he wanted to sell it before leaving to Peru. 1 day before we left he sold it - luckily!
We went with a lot of friends and our vans to the south-east of France, 2 days driving on beautiful, non payment, roads led us to Jura and later on to Champagne for wine-picking.
We arrived in a very lovely village, with a family run vineyard, making amazing "Pinot-Noir". Titony and his friends worked there picking grapes and the family cooked lunch for everybody and even offered me to sit on their veranda to work and have internet, which was really nice since my internetstick didn't work that far away from bigger towns.
Titony worked all day long in the fields, while I was working as usual for my german clients – in a really beautiful and calm place with only the sound of the chicken and cocks around. Amazing, I loved it!
In the evenings we all sat together – our 6 friends and about 20 more people, drinking wine, playing guitar and laughing over stories...
ROCK EN STOCK FESTIVAL
In Étaple (close to Calais) in the north of France - a little tornado arrived but we stayed anyways, after we came a long way and were very lucky that it didn't hit us directly. A very scary moment thouhgh to see it pass by us so close that the heavy rain and wind almost blew away some tents and soaked the ground muggy. Never ever again camping when there is a storm warning like that. Next day it was great weather and the festival started anyways.
Vacation with some friends: we, about 12 people with their old camper-vans, mostly self build inside, drove through the Arcachon-Region for a week or so. Simply surfing, hanging out at the beach, cooking good food, cycling, canoeing and swimming.
I was the only person that had to work all the time, but luckily not very long, only about 2-4 hours a day. With my internetstick I mostly everywhere had a connection.
The city where Titony's family lives, we have been here a couple of times. Been carp-fishing and to the awesome comic-art-museum.
FOU CAVES FESTIVAL
Close to Santes and Île d'Oléron in a beautiful small village in the countryside is this great Festival - with an awesome, friendly atmosphere – wanna go there again. The village with it's river is very cute with ancient stone houses and almost all streets blocked for the festival people to walk on. You can jump right in the river after dancing in front of a non-crowded stage. Everything is very thoughtful and ecologically planned all the way to the compostable and non-smelly toilets :) I mena for a lot of people the resaon to not go to festivals are: too many people and disgusting pixi-toilets. Both don't exist on the really amazing festival.
We saw some great bands like my favorit french band " Les Ogres de Barback" - all made some music with love, rock, indie, chanson francaise, ska - a bit of all the cool stuff.
We met and started our journeys in France in June 2013 in Montalivet close to Bordeaux – for Titony it was not really traveling, cuz we were in his home country, but for me! I already stayed tehre since April and it was a great summer of surfing, chilling, meeting new people (for me) / old friends (for Titony) and dancing on festivals and concerts.
A typical day was like that: getting up at shortly to 8 am, walk up the dune in pyjamas, check the waves and the wind. Walk 10 min daown again, get my wetsuit on, wax the board, do some stretching and be under the first 2- 3 to ride some great early-morning waves!!! Then around 9:45 am get out of the water, take a quick beach-shower, gte dressed and start to work around 10 am. Either inside the van with the internet stick or in a café nearby with wifi. If there were no surfable waves, I usually went a couple maybe 200m to the bakery, got a croissant and a pain aux raisin and a baguette and started the day sitting or walking at the beach eating breakfast french style :)
Either way my days started of so calm, unstressful, positive and inspiring that the day could only be good.
I learned to not take my work too serious, I actually the first time in my life managed to have a healthy work+ life-balance!